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Canadian News Mar 7, 2022 10:59 PM EST

2 suspects wanted in hate crime investigation after cars with Russian flags damaged

Police were called after reports that a vehicle was being damaged in The Queensway and Islington Avenue area.

2 suspects wanted in hate crime investigation after cars with Russian flags damaged
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

The Toronto Police Service is requesting the public's assistance with identifying suspects related to a possible hate-motivated event.

According to police, on Saturday, March 5, 2022, police were called after reports that a vehicle was being damaged in The Queensway and Islington Avenue area.

It is reported that two males were in the parking lot of the Cineplex Theater plaza and damaged multiple parked vehicles, each using a sledgehammer.  The pair vandalized cars with Russian flags displayed in their windshields, police said.

One of the suspects is described as a male in his late teens wearing a grey sweater. The other is described as a male in a black sweater. The suspects fled in a vehicle described as a dark grey Acura, the Toronto Police Service reported.

"After consultation with the Service's specialized Hate Crime Unit, the investigation is being treated as a suspected hate motivated offence," police wrote.

"When suspected hate-motivated offences are reported to police, the investigation will be led by a Divisional investigator. The Hate Crime Unit will be made aware and specialized officers from that unit will support the investigation as needed," they wrote.

"If it is alleged a criminal offence was committed (such as assault or mischief) and it is believed to have been motivated by bias, prejudice or hate, the officer-in-charge will consult with the Crown. If a person is charged and convicted of the offence, the Judge will take into consideration hate as an aggravating factor when imposing a sentence.

"Willful promotion of hatred and advocating genocide are hate propaganda (hate speech) offences which require the Attorney General’s consent. Members of the Hate Crime Unit will provide assistance and support to the divisional investigators in seeking the Attorney General’s consent to lay these charges, if applicable. These charges are often laid at a later time," police concluded.

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